As the financial services industry emerges from the pandemic, one consistent challenge remains: how to construct a more inclusive culture that nurtures the next generation of risk managers and bank executives?
At the inaugural RMA Women in Risk Summit on October 29, 2021, women business leaders and their allies gathered to share their personal journeys, inspiring stories on overcoming workplace challenges and practical career advice. These engaging sessions were part of RMA's mission to address the need for a more gender-diverse risk culture.
DEI is a journey, not a project. More than half of bank employees are women, yet their representation in the C-suite and on boards falls short of 50 percent During the summit's opening session, "From Glass Slippers to Glass Ceilings, Shattering Limitations to Lead," panelists offered advice on advancing female employees and encouraged a more expansive recruiting process. The group also addressed the historic exit of women from the workplace during the pandemic. Bank on Women Chairman and Co-founder Terrie Spiro noted, "If I'm losing women employees because I am not offering them the same opportunities or training, then I am creating an environment of failure and mediocrity."
Never stop learning. An all-star panel shared what skill sets will be required of the C-suite of tomorrow in the session, "Attracting the Next Generation of Risk Leaders." Reserve Trust CCO Erika Crandall remarked "We all have jobs that didn't exist before." Crandall stressed her three "C's" to success: Be curious, be creative and think critically. The panel also discussed the value of networking and "connecting the dots" to learn from shared experiences.
Work-life integration takes work. For Erin Amerlan, Managing Director of Operational Risk & Insurance at Charles Schwab, work-life balance is a misnomer. "It implies we are giving equal or even consistent weight to work and our personal lives." Flexibility to prioritize is a more apt depiction, Amerlansaid in the session: "Work-Life Integration: The New Normal." Panelists stressed the importance of managing up and even relaxing standards on the home front during stressful times at work.
Be comfortable with discomfort. Consider building relationships a part of your job, urged participants during the panel "Mentorship - The Roles of Mentors and Mentees in Your Career Journey." Finding mentors takes work but don't let introversion get in your way. “I am still not comfortable at networking," admitted BuseyBank CRO Monica Bowe "But I realize the value in (mentoring) so I allow myself to be uncomfortable. A closed mouth does not get fed."